3 May: Atago-san plus Kasama Pottery Fair, Ibaraki-ken (Masako)
A local trip, including a visit to Atago-san (306 m) and Nantai-san (553 m), with excellent views across to Tsukuba-san, Kasumi-ga-ura and the Kantou Plain. We might come upon wild lily bells (suzuran) blooming beside the trail. On the way home, we will swing by the Himatsuri Festival, one of the major events of the year in Kasama Pottery Town. Difficulty: ** (***** on your wallet if you like pottery).
24-25 May: Nikko 5th Birthday Walk, Tochigi-ken (Nicolas)
During these 2 days we will be hiking around Nikko. Each day, easy and hard walks will be offered so that all members from 0.7 to 77 years can join us. You have probably already heard of the beautiful mountain scenery awaiting us in the Nikko National Park... The first day's walks give you the choice between an easy stroll into ancient Nikko, or a harder walk following the "pilgrim's route". On the second day, you will have the choice between the Asegata (easy) or Hangetsu (hard) pass. Deer, serow and even bears may await us on our way! Registration for this hike is already open as we need to book the accomodations as early as possible...
7 June: To be announced (Ajay)
21-22 June: Fuji Five Lakes, Yamanashi-ken (Tadashi)
Blessed with natural beauty and abundant hot springs, the Five Lakes district at the foot of Mt. Fuji is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. Besides walking trails up volcanoes, the area provides opportunity for a range of activities from boat rides and visits to art museums to exploring lava caves. Geared toward sightseers more than mountaineers, this is a two-day trip with a stop at a spa resort hotel at Owakudani, or the "Valley of Great Boiling." Difficulty * to **.
12 July: BBQ (Ajay)
This is the annual Summer barbeque get-together of TWMC members. We will meet for food and beverages on the AIST Campus/in Douhou Kouen (Tsukuba) (exact location will be informed later).
19 July: Bandai-san, Fukushima-ken (Akira)
An active volcano some 3-4 hours driving to the north of Tsukuba. A very beautiful mountain with a crater lake. Difficulty: easy to medium.
26-27 July: Historical walk in Nagano (Victor)
During the Edo period, representatives from all the regions in Japan were required to travel to Edo (Tokyo). To accommodate these travellers, major roads were developed. Along these roads were many guesthouses and restaurants. One of these roads, called Naka-sen-do, connected Edo and Kyoto and went through Nagano. Parts of Naka-sen-do have been preserved in a similar situation as during the time of Edo. This TWMC walk will follow parts of Naka-sen-do. Along the way, we will be able to see many buildings from the Edo period and we will have a chance to experience what it might have been like during that period. We will stay the night at one of the old-style ryokan.
8-10 or 9-11 August: Kamikochi, Kita-alps (Paul)
Situated in the noble splendour and magnificence of the Kita Alps, a visit to Kamikochi, the "birthplace of Japanese alpinism", is a "must-do". The plan is for at least two walks, one including "the" apline route to do in Japan along the Hotaka-Yari ridge, to go ahead, converging on the spear-like Yari-ga-take on the second day, offering superb ridge trails for different levels of ability. Difficulty: *** to *****.
23 August: Iwaki Waterfalls, Fukushima-ken (Victor)
This one day trip is one of the most popular walks in the TWMC. The walk is in the Natsugawa River valley (close to Iwaki, Fukushima). The first part of the walk is through a lovely river gorge with many waterfalls as well as pools where the courageous (and the insane) can go for a swim. The second part of the walk goes through the forest and takes us back to the parking lot. Although the walk is not strenuous, there are some chains and ladders. The rating for this walk is one and a half stars. Difficulty * to **.
30 August or 7 September: Fuji-san, Shizuoka-ken/Yamanashi-ken (Ajay)
Fuji-san (3,776 m) is the most famous and highest mountain in Japan. It is also one of Japan's most famous symbols because of its almost perfect volcanic cone. Climbing Fuji-san is technically easy, but can be difficult because of the altitude gain and height of the volcano. The date given above is tentative, and may change in case of bad weather.
13-15 September: Yatsu-ga-take, Nagano/Yamanashi-ken (Paul)
According to ancient legend, Yatsu-ga-take was once higher than Fuji, but Fuji rose and kicked its rival over, forming eight lower peaks. There are actually more than eight peaks along the jagged north-south ridge, most of which is over 2,500 metres, which forms the border between Nagano and Yamanashi-ken. Allowing three days to complete this walk over Yatsu-ga-take's highest peaks and most spectacular scenery, the pace may not be particularly hurried, but some situations could prove interesting! Difficulty: ****.
September: Night Walk, destination is not fixed yet (Nicolas)
Have you ever experienced the magical atmosphere of nature at night? During the night, everything is sleeping around you and you perceive the landscape differently. After a few hours of walking, we will see the first lights of the day at the horizon. Soon it will be dawn and we will stop at a summit to enjoy the view of the rising sun...
11-12/13 October: Mikagura-dake, Nigata-ken (Terry)
Although Mikagura-dake (1,386 m) in Niigata-ken (near the border with Fukushima-ken) is not high, the ridges near the summit are rocky and sharp, and the view from the summit is great. You might feel as if you were on one of the 3,000m-level mountains in the North Alps. I hope we can also enjoy seeing autumnal colours. Difficulty: ***
For more details on the walks and the TWMC activites, visit the TWMC website at: http://eve.bk.tsukuba.ac.jp/twmc/
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